Going Native

Going Native

As spring plant­ing is approach­ing, I am think­ing of those plants in my gar­den that seem to thrive in Utah’s heat and not require as much water! What an asset to my land­scape because these plants require much less water, which results in a lower water bill.

Did you know that Utah is the sec­ond dri­est state in the nation with an aver­age annual rain­fall of just over 15 inches? Wow! So you can under­stand the impor­tance of plant­ing more drought-tolerant, water-wise plants–and even more specifically–planting “native” plants.

What do I mean by “native”? Native plants are ones that have been grow­ing in a region for a very long time and have his­tor­i­cally been proven to adapt to local con­di­tions; thus requir­ing less water, less main­te­nance, and being more resis­tant to area pests and disease–making them the per­fect choice for a “green” landscape.

If you want to get started on using native plants to your region, I found this great web­site at PlantNative.org. The web­site hosts a “Native Plants Nurs­ery Finder” which lists, by state, the nurs­eries that spe­cial­ize in native plants sales. It also has a “Regional Plant List Finder”–just plug in the state you are inter­ested in and a whole slew of native plants, trees, and shrubs pop up that are rel­e­vant to that area.

When I plugged in my own state of Utah, I was excited to see that I actu­ally have sev­eral plants that are already grow­ing in my gar­den that are native to our area (i.e., Prairie Aster, Sil­very Lupine, Sun­flower, and Penstemon).

Sun­flower” | Photo Credit: Tina Phillips

There are other drought tol­er­ant plants that do well in our area, although not nec­es­sar­ily native to this area, but they seem to thrive well in our desert-like con­di­tions (i.e., Core­op­sis, Salvia, Russ­ian Sage, Cone­flower, Lia­tris (Gay Feather), and Shasta Daisy to name a few).

Shasta Daisy” | © 2011 Gar­den Stems

Echi­nac­cea” | © 2011 Gar­den Stems

As you look around your own exist­ing land­scape, I bet you will be sur­prised to find you already have a few native plants grow­ing there. I guess the idea is not to stop there, but to build on this beauty and get back to your garden’s roots.

Jeni is a native of Lin­coln, Nebraska and has lived and gar­dened in Utah for the past 22 years. She is the owner and author of Gar­den Stems, an online gar­den­ing resource, and on the Advi­sory Coun­cil for a local botan­i­cal gar­den. She was fea­tured in 2009 on Women on the Web (wowOwow.com).

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Botan­i­cal Names– Say What?
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Outside-Inside Style: Suc­cu­lent Con­tainer Trough

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